Yesterday, V and I called our Indian friends home for dinner. Fortunately, for me, this was not the first time they were having food cooked by me. I say fortunately, because, the food was not tasty, at all . I had made sookhe kale chane (dry black chickpeas), aloo sabzi (a spicy mashed potato dish), bhindi raita (okra in yogurt) and poori (a deep fried Indian flat bread).
Originally, I had planned to make til wale aloo (a sesame potato dish), but, since it wasn’t my day, the potatoes boiled to a mush and I had to improvise. Originally, I had also planned to make a curry based black chickpea dish (which was tried and tested and good), but, while browsing, I came across someone talking about the dry chana you get served on the way to Vaishno Devi (a holy temple in India). Its really really delicious. Reading about it, just made my mouth water and I changed my original plans and decided to try this new recipe instead. I wish I hadn’t. The chana were tasteless- they were nothing like the ones you get at Vaishno Devi. I might not blame the recipe altogether. The recipe did mention not to use a non stick pan in order to get the correct flavor of the onions, but all I had in hand were non-stick pans. Maybe, that was the reason for the utter failure of the chanas. Again, I improvised, but was not happy with the end result.
The only thing that did go right, though was, the bhindi raita. It was quick, easy, simple and tasty. Even the pooris that I made, did not come out right. I have made pooris before and they have turned out well, but this time they refused to puff up and came out all crispy and hard. Probably, it was because I rolled them out and kept them for some time before frying. That’s the only plausible explanation I can think of, because when I rolled and fried immediately they started puffing up. Since, the frying was done at the time of dinner, and I had kneaded just enough dough for the five of us, I was left with no option but to serve the hard, crispy pooris with a few of the soft ones. I have had better days!!
But, while thinking about all the things that went wrong during the day, I thought about all the things that did go right. And my thought went to V. The party ended late- very late- around 3 am- after a lot of poker and drink rounds. I have this bad habit of cleaning everything before sleeping. My mom has the same habit. It runs in our genes, I guess. And, even though both of us were tired, he helped me clean up everything, not once, complaining. And he does this often. There are times, after parties, or even regular days, when, while I clean up, he washes the dishes that can’t fit into Jaywanti (our dishwasher) – he actually insists because he knows I have been working the whole day in the kitchen.
There are also days, when he realises that I am in no mood of cooking, and saves me the pain by taking me out for dinner. On random days, just to brighten my smile, he gets flowers for me. Sometimes, chocolates, and sometimes both!
Till date he has never complained about the food, even though there have been times (case in point- my yesterday’s dinner failure) where the food I have prepared has not been good, but he still appreciates it (even for yesterday’s dinner, he maintains that the food was delicious!!). The time when I used to make unevenly shaped, burnt chapatis, even then, he never once criticized. In fact, for him, they were always perfect. Of course, this habit of his makes it difficult to know whether he truly likes the food or not. But, this habit also motivates me to keep trying out new things.
My mother has been telling me for days to buy a stool for the kitchen so that I don’t end up standing the whole day and affecting my knee. Mothers do care for you the most! The other day when V came to me and said the same thing, it really touched me. It was something he thought by himself- my mother never told him. It was a very small thing but it showed me how much he cared for me.
I remember, the first thing I noticed about him was his smile. And I loved it. He does have a very bad sense of humor,though, and its quite funny to see him laugh the hardest at his own jokes. Its kinda cute! He was the first one to read my blog and was so proud of me- you could see it in his eyes. He religiously checks it everyday, and I never have to tell him to do so. He always encourages me when I want to buy something for myself or the house. I expect him to wince at the price, but he tells me that he is earning so that we can live comfortably. Thanks to him, I have been able to decorate the house the way I always wanted to. Thanks to him, I have been able to discover myself, do stuff I have never done before, foraying into painting, baking, and experimenting things that I was always interested in but never found the time to do so.
I am glad that, at the end of the day, in spite of whatever else that has gone wrong, V is one thing that has gone right.
source: Miss Masala’s website (thanx elgo for re-introducing me to the site)
400 gms bhindi (okra)
350 gms yogurt
1/2 tsp turmeric powder
1/2 tsp chilli powder
1 tsp cumin
1 tbsp oil
Salt to taste
Wash, drain and dry bhindi. (You can keep it in the colander and continue working on something else till the okra dries. Its very important for it to be dry, else when you cut it, the okra will be very slimy. You can also put it on a paper towel to let dry)
Preheat grill to medium setting. Grill cumin, then crush into fine powder and keep for later.
Stir yogurt with salt to taste. leave to chill in fridge.
Mix the okra with chilli powder, turmeric and oil in bowl.
Grill for 8-10 min until sizzling and crispy. (You can also fry the okra but this a healthier option. I have also realized the resulting okra can be used as a dish itself and served with chappati too.)
Add in yogurt. Sprinkle fresh cumin powder on top and 1/2 tsp black salt.
Serve chilled as soon as possible.
After note: I just spoke with my mother and told her about the whole dinner disaster, but mentioned that atleast the bhindi raita was good. She told me that our cook in India, also adds a oil-mustard seeds-urad dal-red chilli-kadi pata tadka. Next time, I am gonna try that!